Notes of the Parish in Council meeting held at 10.30 am on Saturday 7th October 2017 at St Mary’s School, Axminster
Present: Father Anthony, Sister Margaret McElroy, Philip Mostyn (Chair/Lyme), Jenny Gale (Secretary/Axminster), Michelle Sullivan (Axminster/Catechesis), Monica Watts-Hunt (Administration), Peter Porteous (Communication), Theresa Dicker (Evangelisation).
Parishioners: David Gale, Jeny Butler, Pippa Brough, Dermot Lyons, Mervyn Aggett, Pat Aggett, Tony Norman, Vicky Norman, Mary Hart, Diana Mostyn, Jo Enright, Matthew Tompkins.
Apologies: Jane Godfrey.
1. Welcome: Philip opened the meeting, welcomed everyone, and explained that this annual opportunity should be focussed mainly on the future.
2. Opening Prayer and Introduction: Father Anthony started the meeting with a prayer
3. The Past Year:
Philip briefly reviewed how a year ago we were under temporary parish administration, under the leadership of Canon Paul, whose lasting legacy has been the evangelisation programme that Theresa is now successfully coordinating. In April we had Fr Anthony’s Induction, marking the turn of a tide for us, and the end of our uncertainty. In August Tony Thurgood retired from the Council after many years, and Fr Anthony appointed Theresa.
Father Anthony explained that John Shannon is the new Head teacher for 2 terms. He is Catholic, with the proven ability to lead and, despite a broken leg, his presence and confidence are showing. Father Anthony is working with him and the non-Catholic teachers to implement the Diocesan RE scheme. There are also plans for school and class Masses to be held in Church. There is a new complement of governors and very positive developments since last year.
Peter reported on the magazine and website. There was discussion about the circulation of the magazine. 300 copies are currently produced (100 for each Church) funded by the adverts. More may be needed for distribution to school parents, and they should also be handed out at the end of our masses, rather than left in boxes at the back of churches. Copies are left in surgery waiting rooms and it was suggested that some should be left in tourist information centres. There is no room for more ads, but a larger print run and wider distribution might attract higher advert charges, and a falling unit cost. Praise was given for the excellent website, which is updated weekly, and Father and Claire control the bulletin. Action: Peter to update on the magazine distribution at the next meeting.
Monica reported that the parish accounts are displayed in the churches. Financially we are stable but not growing, kept afloat by investments. In summer we benefit from visitors, especially Seaton and Lyme. On the building side there is always maintenance which is particularly expensive at Lyme as it is a listed building. Following a full survey at Lyme, re-pointing and other work is necessary which could cost £300,000 including scaffolding. The Diocese will help and some grants may be available. A digital locking system is about to be put at the car park entrance to Lyme. In the Seaton church it is hoped to return the tabernacle to behind the altar. In Axminster there is still decoration and lighting work to be done in the church.
4. The Future:
Theresa described how, after fruitful meetings of sharing their faith and an emphasis on listening to others, the next stage is to explore and share personal opportunities for helping people come closer to God. There will be meetings on the first Tuesday of each month in the Lyme old school room, to which all are welcome, hopefully with a second facilitator to support Theresa (volunteer required).
Axminster Memorial and Organ Concert:
Jenny Gale announced that the memorial plaque to Father Michael is now in place on the organ and the Concert is arranged for Friday 13th October. Posters have been displayed in the churches, school and other places.
Christmas Mass times and places:
Fr Anthony explained that this year is complicated by the Fourth Sunday in Advent falling on Christmas Eve. Masses will be as follows: Sat 23rd Mass at Seaton at 5.30pm. Sun 24th Masses at Axminster at 9am and Lyme at 11am. These are 4th Sunday of Advent masses, and are followed by the Christmas Vigil Mass at Axminster at 7.30pm (preceded by Carols at 7pm) and Christmas Mass during the Night at Lyme at 11pm (no carols before). Christmas Day Masses will be at Seaton at 9am and at Lyme at 11am. Action: Claire please publish this in the bulletin soon as advanced information.
Easter Triduum attendance and music:
There were disappointing attendances at the Holy Thursday and Good Friday services. The Three Parish Easter Vigil will be held at Axminster with a combined choir and Richard playing the organ. Each parish will continue host the other services as usual. Action: Philip to organise the Easter Vigil music and combined choir.
Bidding Prayers. It is felt that there is some general uncertainty from some readers about phrasing, and a wish to pray for local and world issues that the printed book cannot include. Matt Tomkins coordinates Lyme readers and will be clarifying duties to them. His offer to compose topical prayers was accepted, and he agreed to copy emails to Seaton and Axminster Reader coordinators. Action: Monica and Michelle please explain to Seaton and Axminster Reader coordinators respectively, and pass email addresses to Matt Tompkins through Philip.
Use of the Axminster Presbytery:
Fr Anthony suggested that the ground floor should henceforth be available for parish activities, administration and meetings, etc. The first floor rooms should, in the long term be converted to a two bedroom apartment for a future priest. In the short term they would be partitioned off and locked for occasional use only. Other uses for the ground floor were suggested, including for a mother and tots group, and perhaps wider Christian activities. Children’s liturgy and parish meetings could use it from now.
Other Parishioners’ matters:
Interviews will be taking place during the next two weeks for an additional secretary to work with Claire which will enable her concentrate more on finances. Music and Latin during Mass were discussed and it is evident that people have different views. Philip explained some of the current Church direction on music.
Father Anthony closed the meeting with the ‘Our Father’.
The meeting closed at 12.35.